The high profile absentees from the end-of-year lists
Now that 2011′s musical comings and goings have been settled (though we’re still waiting for the Irish record industry to let us know about sales for the year – they’re obviously too busy suing this plucky little outcrop of rock …
Now that 2011′s musical comings and goings have been settled (though we’re still waiting for the Irish record industry to let us know about sales for the year – they’re obviously too busy suing this plucky little outcrop of rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to get the stats out as quickly as their UK and US peers), it’s interesting to have a look at some of the more high profile absentees from those end-of-year lists we were all fuming about a month ago. Yes, it was just a month ago.
While there were some acts who dominated the lists, there were others who were oddly missing from the running. Our old friends Radiohead released an album in 2011, but this is something which could easily have escaped your attention when you were going through those best albums-of-the-year lists because “King Of Limbs” just didn’t feature as heavily as previous albums from Thom Yorke and friends. Oh, yes, I know that you could spot it here and there in the also-rans, but it didn’t light up the sharp end like PJ Harvey, Adele or, indeed, previous albums from the band in other years. While I’m sure the band are happy enough with how the album performed, it’s telling that the album didn’t quite capture the imagination beyond that of the dedicated core on this occasion. Perhaps the musical worm has turned here.
Another act who didn’t quite dominate list proceedings as much as when she launched her current album was Florence & The Machine. “Ceremonials” is a decent album, but it’s no “Lungs”. The album release may have come with all the major label trimmings you’d expect like big ad campaigns and media coverage, but it didn’t quite last the pace to those end-of-year lists because all seemed a little tired of Ms Welch and her dramatics. If we wanted an album which was the same as a well-received debut but slightly different to justify the hype, we were going for Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes.
Of course, it’s unlikely that either act will be unduly worried by their poor showing in those 2011 lists. Both acts are still capable of selling out big rooms and headlining festival stages so they haven’t suddenly lost their lustre and commercial appeal overnight. Yet it’s telling nonetheless about how album which are well-received by fans and critics – and albums which come with a well-executed marketing plan – doesn’t translate into stickability. Even applying caveats about the wisdom of a crowd (especially the perceived wisdom of a crowd of critics in many cases) and the fact that much better albums were released in 2011 than “King Of Limbs” and “Ceremonials”, their failure to strike it large is still telling about the disconnect between well-reviewed albums and how they play out a few months later.